Last week in the U.S., we saw a lot of antisemitic violence — synagogues vandalized and Jews threatened and attacked. After personal safety, the question for American Jews is how to persevere and process. What effect do these incidents have on our Jewish identities? What do we want to communicate about being a target? And how can we combine our artistic impulses with activism?
These three recent visual responses explore the overlap between art and activism, suggesting that we can engage with the complicated nature of being an American Jew in the face of past and current trauma.read more…
This fraught week coincided with Shavuot, when we celebrate the gift of Torah. We might also celebrate millennia of Jewish literature. At CANVAS, we’re marking the occasion with three new books by Jewish women. They explore a range of topics — the AIDS crisis, comedy, family — with wit and insight. Happy reading! Let us know what you think.read more…
Beloved holidays have common ingredients. There are familiar melodies, recognizable symbols, and festive meals. Though Shavuot is significant in marking the ancient pilgrimage festival and celebrating the momentous occasion of receiving the Torah, it lacks the endearing traditions that lend others their appeal. Shavuot can be daunting to Jews who feel tentative about Hebrew texts and uncertain around matters of God and faith; after all, the holiday involves an overnight textual study that culminates with prayer and Torah reading at sunrise.read more…
There is an old Yiddish saying that, like many old Yiddish sayings, is not a positive one: yeder makht shabes far zikh. “Everyone makes Shabbos for themselves.”
Art, like Shabbos, represents the separation between the everyday and the spiritual, between the ordinary and extraordinary. We celebrate alone if we must. But we flourish in the presence of others who share our values and our vision.
This is why we are so heartened by the arrival of a new film fund, Jewish Story Partners (JSP).
Menachem Kaiser’s Plunder: A Memoir of Family Property and Nazi Treasure is the record of his attempt to claim his family’s apartment building in Poland. Along the way he learns surprising facts about his family from treasure-hunters of Nazi artifacts. Liba Vaynberg spoke to Kaiser about his process and his complicated inheritance as a Jewish artist.read more…
For Chanukah 2020, visual artist Olivia Guterson crafted a paper lantern menorah as a public installation to illuminate the issue of homelessness. For Passover 2021, Guterson again merged her brilliantly detailed artistry, her Judaism, and her keen awareness of social and environmental issues.read more…
The medium of comics owes a lot to Will Eisner, who created The Spirit and who many consider the father of the graphic novel. The Jewish Museum of Florida has an exhibition of Eisner’s drawings with an innovative online walkthrough. Highly recommended.
The new film Tahara has been creating a stir in the festivals. Written by Jess Zeidman and directed by Olivia Peace, Tahara is a queer coming-of-age drama about an anxious teen manipulated into a romantic encounter with her best friend during the funeral of their former Hebrew school classmate. Liba Vaynberg spoke to Peace and Zeidman about their collaboration.read more…
At JFN’s 2021 conference, Hyperallergic Editor Hrag Vartanian asked Jewish funders: Why invest in Jewish arts and culture? Passover comments from the audience illustrated by the New Yorker’s Liana Finck. See the drawings and watch the video.
Reboot challenges us to eliminate plastic for the duration of Passover. No plastic bags, straws, wrappers, cellophane, bubble wrap, take-out containers. It won’t be easy, but they have all the resources you need to make it happen.
We are pleased to share with you this gorgeous companion to Dwelling in a Time of Plagues, a Jewish creative response to the real-world plagues of our time.
This coast-to-coast offline/online exhibition involves dozens of museums, public sites, and online platforms.
Dwelling in a Time of Plagues invited ten artists and ten writers to respond to two questions: What has most plagued you in this year of plagues? What has liberated you?
The companion text collects some of their compelling responses, as well as invites you to tackle these questions at home.
CANVAS is proud to support a collaboration in which so many creatives have come together to elevate the field, one another, and all of us.
CANVAS works to achieve a 21st-century Jewish cultural renaissance through grantmaking, advocacy, and education. The brand-new CANVAS Compendium is part of this effort — a newsletter designed to convey the highest quality and remarkable diversity of contemporary Jewish creativity.
Each week we will share with you a few of our favorite projects and practitioners. We’ll keep it brief, and we’ll make sure it’s highly curated, but we predict you’ll be amazed by how energized the field is.
For example, the striking image above is from Golem: A Call to Action by L.A.-based artist Julie Weitz. As part of Dwelling in a Time of Plagues, a CANVAS-funded exhibition for Passover 2021, Julie will bring her Golem to Boston’s Vilna Shul, as well as to Jewish museums in Florida and San Francisco.
We hope you’ll stick with us to see what else is in store.